The catastrophe theory evolved by Thom and Zeeman proposes a mathematical definition for the abrupt or 'catastrophic' changes that can suddenly occur in normally well-ordered and smooth-running systems. We have integrated this theory with our own PAF/cytokine feedback network hypothesis to explain the control and dysfunction of the inflammatory response. This process involves the activation of cells and factors such as proteases, and is coordinated by mediators such as PAF, cytokines and growth factors, minute amounts of which can prime cells to respond in an enhanced manner to subsequent agonistic stimuli. PAF and certain cytokines also possess the unique property of being able to induce the release of each other and their own generation in vivo. This 'singularity' may enable a self-generatin feedback network to become established. The priming ability of these mediators indicates the extreme sensitivity of the inflammatory process and importance of a homeostatic equilibrium between the vectors involved in the priming and feedback processes and internal suppressive mechanisms. In pathological conditions, one can consider the phenomenon of PAF and cytokine autogeneration as a 'fold' in the feedback network and an expression of the singularity characteristic of the catastrophe hypothesis. This may lead to systemic toxicity and microcirculatory collapse, a characteristic feature of shock, sepsis, asthma, ischemia and graft rejection. A combination of drugs antagonizing the various feedback components may inhibit this catastrophic process and thus provide more successful therapy of these conditions.
|Number of pages||38|
|Journal||Journal of Lipid Mediators|
|Publication status||Published - 1989|
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